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Jordan

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blommen

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I love how Zion only finishes with his right hand and even though his defender knows this and tries to make him go right it doesn't matter, because Zion is so ridiculously powerful that he'll just finish with his left hand anyway despite being on the right side of the basket. It is such a perfect example of skill deficiencies only carrying so much weight when you have a physical toolset more or less ripped from the pages of an X-men comic.

Like, how many players can realistically cover him? I mean, all things can be schemed apart but how many players are strong enough, smart enough, fast enough to take that assignment and deal with that toolset? Draymond is big and strong enough and he's sly as fuck but it depends on the shape he's in, same with Kawhi. PG-13, Giannis, Jaren Jackson Jr eventually, AD, 'Bron if he decides to put in the effort maybe?

It's interesting in large part because there really isn't an existing blueprint on the kind of playerprofile Zion has. He's still a rookie and there are plenty of smart defensive coaches around the league, so people are going to find ways to take advantage of his more pronounced weaknesses, but he still repesents a puzzle that is more or less wholly unique for the league to figure out.

The question of who between AD or 'Bron would guard him in a Lakers match-up underlines just how weird the puzzle is, because it highlights the strange middleground between big man and wing Zion occupies. He's not the first player to be in that middleground but the way he specifically occupies that space so god damn weird. He's like the Wing version of Shaq in that even though he may not possess the type of skillset we've come to expect from elite players at that player classification he is just so utterly overwhelming physically and athletically that it makes his conventionally lacking skillset seem outright immaterial.

He's such an interesting player, I have no idea what he's going to end up turning into. I think there is reason to be concerned for his long term health with just how much weight he carries around and how much force he generates, but it is nevertheless fascinating to think about what kind of player he will turn into.
 

Sir'Dom Pointer

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I love how Zion only finishes with his right hand and even though his defender knows this and tries to make him go right it doesn't matter, because Zion is so ridiculously powerful that he'll just finish with his left hand anyway despite being on the right side of the basket. It is such a perfect example of skill deficiencies only carrying so much weight when you have a physical toolset more or less ripped from the pages of an X-men comic.

Like, how many players can realistically cover him? I mean, all things can be schemed apart but how many players are strong enough, smart enough, fast enough to take that assignment and deal with that toolset? Draymond is big and strong enough and he's sly as fuck but it depends on the shape he's in, same with Kawhi. PG-13, Giannis, Jaren Jackson Jr eventually, AD, 'Bron if he decides to put in the effort maybe?

It's interesting in large part because there really isn't an existing blueprint on the kind of playerprofile Zion has. He's still a rookie and there are plenty of smart defensive coaches around the league, so people are going to find ways to take advantage of his more pronounced weaknesses, but he still repesents a puzzle that is more or less wholly unique for the league to figure out.

The question of who between AD or 'Bron would guard him in a Lakers match-up underlines just how weird the puzzle is, because it highlights the strange middleground between big man and wing Zion occupies. He's not the first player to be in that middleground but the way he specifically occupies that space so god damn weird. He's like the Wing version of Shaq in that even though he may not possess the type of skillset we've come to expect from elite players at that player classification he is just so utterly overwhelming physically and athletically that it makes his conventionally lacking skillset seem outright immaterial.

He's such an interesting player, I have no idea what he's going to end up turning into. I think there is reason to be concerned for his long term health with just how much weight he carries around and how much force he generates, but it is nevertheless fascinating to think about what kind of player he will turn into.

No one is strong enough to body him. AD is not a strong post player at all. He gets bullied by Julius Randle.
Kawhi, PG 13, JJJ no way. Giannis and Draymond also, don't see it. He can not be covered 1 on 1 in the post and certainly not a head of steam. Heck, he bullied Gobert jumping off 2 legs from a standstill position!
 

blommen

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No one is strong enough to body him. AD is not a strong post player at all. He gets bullied by Julius Randle.
Kawhi, PG 13, JJJ no way. Giannis and Draymond also, don't see it. He can not be covered 1 on 1 in the post and certainly not a head of steam. Heck, he bullied Gobert jumping off 2 legs from a standstill position!

I think with most of those names you acquiesce that yes, they will not be able to overpower Zion but that their length combined with their skill and smarts and strength can provide match-ups that could bother him. Obviously there ae just players that you simply don't guard 1-on-1 in the league because they're, well, really fucking good. Most truly elite players you kinda need to scheme for, I'm just eally curious to see what coaches around the league come up with.
 

Sir'Dom Pointer

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I think with most of those names you acquiesce that yes, they will not be able to overpower Zion but that their length combined with their skill and smarts and strength can provide match-ups that could bother him. Obviously there ae just players that you simply don't guard 1-on-1 in the league because they're, well, really fucking good. Most truly elite players you kinda need to scheme for, I'm just eally curious to see what coaches around the league come up with.

I have never seen a player bully Gobert like that and finish with such ease.
Players are just bouncing off him. And the thing is, he isn't shy about bullying them and he likes contact(unlike Lebron). You can force him to his left and he will still bully you and the lack of reach or the defender's reach for that matter has really no value when defending Zion because he is so strong and massive as well as athletic so he just hangs in the air and has defenders just bouncing off of him which makes their advantage in reach insignificant.

How do you stop him rolling to the basket? He is good enough passer to also spot the open man in the corner as a roller. And I just don't see anyone stopping him ahead of steam. In a spaced floor ( 5 man out for example) he can potentially be game breaker. Like the most dominant force we have ever seen.
 

blommen

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I have never seen a player bully Gobert like that and finish with such ease.
Players are just bouncing off him. And the thing is, he isn't shy about bullying them and he likes contact(unlike Lebron). You can force him to his left and he will still bully you and the lack of reach or the defender's reach for that matter has really no value when defending Zion because he is so strong and massive as well as athletic so he just hangs in the air and has defenders just bouncing off of him which makes their advantage in reach insignificant.

How do you stop him rolling to the basket? He is good enough passer to also spot the open man in the corner as a roller. And I just don't see anyone stopping him ahead of steam. In a spaced floor ( man out for example) he can potentially be game breaker. Like the most dominant force we have ever seen.

It's why I think the Shaq comparison is apt. He is so outside of what we conventionally expect of elite players at his position. Bad shooter, handle is a bit shaky at times, not an elite level passer, not a 7'' wingspan, doesn't finish with either hand. All of these things are just so utterly immaterial because he is literally an unheard of type of athlete at that position. Who cares that he only finishes left handed when he's so powerful that he will simply push defenders into the stands when going right and just finish left handed? Who cares that he isn't a great shooter when he's still explosive enough to blow by his man even if he's sagging off. Eventually coaches will have enough game tape to pick his game apart, study his tendencies and come up with ways to deal with him, but it's still so exciting to see a wholly unique type of player in the league.
 

CleveRocks

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If you are looking for guys that can contend with Zion defensively, you need core strength and defensive experience against bigs.. TT in my mind could do it, Sabonis, Draymond ( who plays dirty) are the lesser names. I think James could limit him and embarrass him on the other end. In fact Zion is the one player that would get James a foul call..

Leonard has to be in that conversation, but I think he is borderline..

It's still preseason. I think we have seen that one player teams can't win a ring, and I am not seeing ball or Ingram as being all that helpful..
 

Sir'Dom Pointer

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If you are looking for guys that can contend with Zion defensively, you need core strength and defensive experience against bigs.. TT in my mind could do it, Sabonis, Draymond ( who plays dirty) are the lesser names. I think James could limit him and embarrass him on the other end. In fact Zion is the one player that would get James a foul call..

Leonard has to be in that conversation, but I think he is borderline..

It's still preseason. I think we have seen that one player teams can't win a ring, and I am not seeing ball or Ingram as being all that helpful..

TT got bullied by Batista.

Anyways, i'm pretty sure that no one can effectively guard him in the NBA. You will see. He is special.

NBA isn't ready for a specimen like Zion. He just needs to fix his damn gait some how.
 
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blommen

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I should probably clarify that I don't expect the Pels to win a ring this year, lol. Zion is special, but there have always been special players in the league, and I don't think you can find a single player who is so good that he can't be schemed around. The interesting thing with Zion is that he is such a unique puzzle because there aren't really any readily available blueprints for how to deal with him. Even Shaq when he came into league was eventually "figured out" so to speak, despite presenting a similarly infuriating conundrum with regards to his physical dominance.
 

CleveRocks

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TT got bullied by Batista.

Anyways, i'm pretty sure that no one can effectively guard him in the NBA. You will see. He is special.

NBA isn't ready for a specimen like Zion. He just needs to fix his damn gait some how.
Not saying Zion is not special.. But I think TT is a good choice to limit him...We will both see once we get into the regular season..
 

Derek

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Where are all the think pieces following the Lakers losing these last two to Brooklyn? Seemed like some people were putting a lot of stock in that first preseason game, but that takes have been quiet after these last two.

Full disclosure, I don't think any of these games matter at all.
 

Joe Charboneau

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Where are all the think pieces following the Lakers losing these last two to Brooklyn? Seemed like some people were putting a lot of stock in that first preseason game, but that takes have been quiet after these last two.

Full disclosure, I don't think any of these games matter at all.
I am still here and still feel the same way. I wasnt really basing my opinion off of that 1st preseason game. I felt that way the minute they got AD, or at least a few weeks later after it really sunk in.. People keep talking about the Lakers not having any depth, so all these other Western Conf teams are 10 deep? This is all just my opinion and i could be 100 percent wrong. Wouldnt be the first time or the last. I just find it funny how everyone keeps talking like all these other West teams are stocked to the gills with talent all up and down their benches. We will see.
 

Derek

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I am still here and still feel the same way. I wasnt really basing my opinion off of that 1st preseason game. I felt that way the minute they got AD, or at least a few weeks later after it really sunk in.. People keep talking about the Lakers not having any depth, so all these other Western Conf teams are 10 deep? This is all just my opinion and i could be 100 percent wrong. Wouldnt be the first time or the last. I just find it funny how everyone keeps talking like all these other West teams are stocked to the gills with talent all up and down their benches. We will see.
The Lakers are in the conversation for sure. I don’t see anybody saying otherwise, but I saw people acting like they were going to run roughshod over the league after that first preseason game. I don’t think their depth is very good, but LBJ/AD is the most talented duo in the league.

Clippers
Rockets
Lakers
Nuggets
Warriors
Jazz

I don’t see much of a gap between those teams, and I’m looking forward to seeing it all shake out.
 
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Nathan S

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Re: Zion, I think his matchup against Tillman in the Michigan State game gave a good indication of the kind of player he may struggle against. 6'6"-6'8" guys who weigh in the neighborhood of 250 lbs and are savvy enough to take advantage of his questionable ballhandling. Draymond, playoff LeBron, Tucker and Millsap if they're 100%.
 
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